Newcastle halfback Jack Cogger is poised to sign a two year deal with Canterbury but his bid to be granted an early release by the Knights to link with the Bulldogs immediately is set to fall on deaf ears.
It is understood Cogger 20, has agreed to terms with the Bulldogs for 2019 and 2020 and could sign a contract with the club as early as next week.
But despite suggestions Bulldogs coach Dean Pay is keen to partner Cogger in the halves with Kieran Foran this season, the Knights are set to block any move to release him from the final year of his contract.
“We have advised the Knights that Jack is most likely going to sign elsewhere for 2019 and 2020,” Cogger’s manager Michael Newton said.
“We are just waiting on a written offer which could arrive early next week.”
Newton said Cogger had inspected the facilities at “a couple of NRL clubs” during the past few weeks but declined to name them.
But it is no secret that Pay has a big opinion of the young halfback, who he has coached at rep level.
“It’s a decision based purely on what is best for Jack long-term,”Newton said.
“He wants to play in the number seven jumper in the NRL and the Knights have signed Mitchell Pearce for the next four years.
“It’s going to be counter-productive to his future if he stays in Newcastle.”
It’s going to be counter-productive to his future if he stays in Newcastle.Agent Michael Newton
Newton says he is still hopeful the Knights may agree to release Cogger from the final year of his contract this year.
He was due to meet with Knights CEO Phil Gardner before Christmas to discuss Cogger’s immediate future but was forced to cancel due to personal reasons.
“I think Phil is away at the moment so I’m still hoping to organise something when he gets back,”Newton said.
But Knights coach Nathan Brown indicated on Wednesday that at this stage, the club has no plans to release Cogger early.
“It is a situation not too dissimilar to what the Cowboys did with Kalyn Ponga last season,” Brown said.
“We were hoping Kalyn would be released early but understood that the Cowboys wanted him up there for depth and to cover for injuries.
“I’ve got no doubt that Jack will play first grade for us at some stage this season. We have some depth in the halves but it only takes an injury of two for that to change and Jack understands that and to his credit, he has been really pushing himself at training.”
Brown said he is disappointed to be losing Cogger.
“We wanted to keep both Jack and Brock [Lamb] long term because they are young local guys who we have developed,” he said.
“Hopefully, we’ll still be able to keep hold of Brock.”